“A truly regenerative agriculture is one in which all the natural resources we use to produce food get renewed in the process of using them.” - Fred Kirschenmann
Our Community Permaculture & Regenerative Enterprise Programme took off in late 2013 and takes an innovative approach to development, combining permaculture and entrepreneurship. We work with local partners on food security and sustainable livelihoods through training in permaculture and enterprise skills alongside offering group development training such as leadership, gender and group dynamics.
Our aim is to support these farmers associations and women’s groups to set up as small ecological enterprises, providing a sustainable income and show that this can be done whilst regenerating the environment and providing food and nutrition security for the community leading on to their financial sustainability. For economic resilience we are developing local as well as regional and international markets for organic, health and cosmetics products. Support with processing and value addition training and infrastructure also adds income potential for the farmers. Through our partnerships with LUSH Cosmetics in the UK we are already exporting Aloe Secundiflora for use in their cosmetics, moringa oil production is being developed very soon. We have also recently partnered with local roasters in Nairobi who are supporting us in branding Rongo Coffee from our partner organization, Sustainable Village Resources in Western Kenya. The coffee is being distributed along aisles in leading supermarkets, gourmet stores and online shops. We have also launched delicious Prickly Pear Jam from our partner organization, Laikipia Permaculture Centre through Ma Cuisine which has gone on shelves across Nairobi!
Key to our strategy is the use of a permaculture agroforestry system whereby cash crops are integrated with food crops. We look at choosing crops not only for its suitability not only to the area and compatibility with the other crops, but also for its multiple functions. A crop like the Moringa Oleifeira tree for example is an excellent agroforestry tree to grow with other crops which does well also in drylands, its leaves are very nutritious and also provides an excellent fodder for animals, its seed can be pressed into an oil that is edible and is also in high demand on the international market. Lemongrass is a pest repellent with very deep tap roots which can help prevent soil erosion and improve water conservation if planted on a swale system, the tea made from its leaves is also not only delicious but medicinal. Integrating bee’s into our agroforestry systems provides essential pollination and in Laikipia can be an excellent defense against wild elephants. In this way we are looking at our systems producing food crops and cash crops as well as essential eco-system services.
The programme ties in tightly with our new Research Programme, which aims to map the environmental, social and ecological impact of our projects.
We currently work with four partners in this programme, Laikipia Permaculture Centre (LPC) in Laikipia north, Rusinga Island Organic Farmers Association (RIOFA) on Rusinga Island, Sustainable Village Resources in Rongo and Drylands Natural Resource Centre (DNRC) in Makueni. All our projects are run with local organizations run by people native to the area who are trained in permaculture by PRI-Kenya.
Click on the icons below to find out more about each project.